A couple of weekends ago we took a quick trip to South Padre Island Texas. In all the years I have lived in Texas this was the first time we made the trek down towards the border.
South Padre Island is a barrier island that is apart of the Brownsville-Harlingen Metro area. It is considered a resort town and has plenty of hotels and shops on the island. It is also a HUGE Spring Break destination.
We were only there for the night since my husband surprised me as part of an anniversary gift. He knows I love the beach and have always wanted to visit SPI. Off we packed the kids to drive five hours from Houston to Brownsville. First stop was to drop Zoey off with my Brother-In-Law so she can have fun playing with her doggie cousins.
We stayed in Brownsville because it was more affordable with three kids and it had more restaurants that were geared toward families. Brownsville is a decent sized city with a few major stores and chain restaurants. The hotel we stayed in was very comfortable and right off of the freeway.
The only issue I had with staying 35 minutes from the beach was that the drive back to the hotel was a little uncomfortable due to being sandy. Normally I bring a cheap jug of bottled water to the beach with us in order to rinse the kids off but I didn’t think about that day!
Once on the island you will see lots of beachwear shops, surf boards and restaurants. We didn’t see any spots to park on the beach like you can in Surfside Beach or Galveston. Which, I guess is a good thing if the beach needs to stay clean and protected for the wildlife. We parked on Gulf street and walked across to the beach. You will need to pay attention to the no parking signs but they are very obvious.
As soon as the soft powdery sand hits your feet you sink down a bit. It was a little hard to walk in and keep my balance but it was also refreshing. The blue-green water instantly relaxes you as you find a spot to settle. There are beach chairs for rent if you didn’t bring your own or didn’t want to lug one around.
Needless to say the water is beautiful and the sand is very fine. It was a welcomed change from Surfside and Galveston beaches that we frequent. Galveston beaches are murky and pretty dirty but they are reasons for that. Several big rivers empty into the gulf which bring dirt and trash. Houston is a major city and lots of runoff enters the Gulf as well. The stretch of water near Galveston is so shallow that the water really just churns up a lot of sediment and waste. It’s just a recipie for ugly water.
But I love Galveston for its history and charm and still visit the beaches there. You can even see dolphins, whales and jellyfish.
However, SPI has a brilliance of its own.
Sea Turtles are near and dear to my heart. To me they signify the delicateness and wisdom of the ocean. The endangered Kemps-Ridley Turtle nests mainly in SPI as well as Green Sea turtles. The Padre Island NS Division of Sea Turtle Science & Recovery posted on their Facebook page that 2017 is a record-breaking year for Kemps-Ridley sea turtle nests. There have been 348 nests in Texas with 216 found on the island itself! From April to August you can see hatchlings race for the water or attend a scheduled release.
So, if you see a Sea Turtle report it to 361-949-8173. We didn’t see any sea turtles but it was expected since the beach was full of people.
Next time we go back I hope to spend more time snapping pictures of the wildlife and the many variety of birds. Texas is a great spot to see migratory birds and it seems many of them stop in SPI for a little while.
For now these are the photos I did snap.
Have you been to South Padre Island? What was your experience?